Nursing

She toddles up to me, wherever I am–sitting with her on the floor, on the couch, in the kitchen–opening and closing her fist.

“You want milk, baby?”

“Mih,” she says, continuing to sign. I pull her into my lap and pull down my shirt. She leans in, and her little body relaxes into mine.

***

It was hard in the beginning. Like, really, really hard. I was bleeding and raw. Baby girl was falling asleep during feedings and not eating enough. I cried. A lot. She screamed with hunger. I felt like a failure, but I was determined to figure out how to make breastfeeding work for us.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to figure it out on my own. There was lovely Nurse J, who came to our home, weighed baby girl, and suggested pumping to increase my supply and give my nipples a break from the damage being done by baby girl’s tongue and lip ties. There were the lactation consultants at two different breastfeeding clinics and the doctors who did the snipping. And there were women here, reading this blog, who had been through similar experiences. They, along with one of the doctors, assured me it was okay to stop if I needed to, that it wouldn’t make me any less of a mother. As much as I appreciated those words, I couldn’t give up. Baby girl and I pushed through and finally, after three long months of pain and worry, we were discharged from the breastfeeding clinic.

And we haven’t looked back. I was fully healed. Baby girl was thriving. We were both enjoying nursing. And there were so many times I was grateful to have that tool at my disposal. Like takeoff and landings throughout our first (and second) international plane trip as a family of three. Or in the middle of the night when she was waking up every hour, screaming in pain from acid reflux. Or when we’d been out and about longer than I’d planned and she needed a quick snack.

She still nurses several times a day and at least twice at night, and I have no plans to stop anytime soon. I look forward to those quiet moments with my daughter. She stares intently at my face, sometimes not eating at all, just hanging out on my breast. We play games together. We snuggle at night before I put her back in the crib, content and sleepy.

It’s unlikely we’ll try for another baby while little miss is still nursing, but it’s not something I want to rush. One day–too soon–she will decide she’s had enough. I may or may not be ready when that day comes, but I will do my best to follow her lead. And until then, I will cuddle and snuggle and nourish the only child I have.

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12 thoughts on “Nursing

  1. I am glad that you can enjoy the breastfeeding and that you were strong enough to pull it through. After all many moms don’t even try. Before giving birth to my daughter the midwife asked if I would breast or bottle feed her…
    I myself do enjoy it a lot too, but it did gone easy to both of us, the great hospital staff did help teaching me how to do it and be confident.

    • It’s great that you had such a positive hospital experience. I ended up being disappointed with mine because when I pointed out the red marks that were already appearing because of my daughter’s tongue tie, I was told it was normal, and being a first-time mom, I didn’t know any better. If someone had diagnosed her tongue tie that first day in the hospital, maybe things would have gone easier for us. But I’m glad we stuck it out because we’re having a very positive experience now.

    • Thank you! I’m worried people are getting sick of my gushing!

      Ugh, the job search. It’s not going great, but he’s still plugging away. He’s had a couple of phone interviews, but that’s it. He’s still got a few applications pending that he hopes will get him something.

  2. I’m just starting out on this journey (and so far have been lucky BF-wise) but I’m learning what you mean about cherishing those quiet moments. It’s so worth it!

    • I’m so glad things gave started out smoothly for the two of you! Our difficulties were the source of a lot of stress for me in the beginning. If we get to have a next time, I’m going to have the baby’s tongue and lip checked first thing, and hopefully we’ll have a better experience. Enjoy those quiet moments, mama!

  3. We are on a very similar nursing schedule here as well! Though I am trying to whittle down the night sessions to one time only. Good for you guys for sticking to it! I personally am ready to quit whenever she is!

    • I thought we had gotten a twice-a-night schedule all figured out, and then, somehow, it went back up to three. I would love it if we could get down to one, but that seems a long way off!

  4. I loved nursing. I had a hard time with my first. I was raw, and I had too much milk, and he would choke on it. But once we got the hang of it, I just loved it. I still miss it. My daughter stopped at 16 months, and now she is 4! So sweet, when they look up at you while nursing. It’s such a wonderful bonding experience.

  5. Aww I love this! My 2.5 year old still nurses and those quiet times are still cherished. She nurses once or twice a day(for a minute or two each time) nurses to sleep and then 2 to 3 times a night. It is the only time she ever slows down.

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